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B.J. Stewart makes splash

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Former Cumberland University tight end B.J. Stewart opened even more eyes with his efforts in Saturdays Raycom All-Star Classic in Montgomery, AL.

A former standout collegiate wrestler and a three-year football starter at CU, Stewart (6-5, 255) caught three passes for 41 yards and executed his trademark leap over a would-be defender for a first down.

Stewart came to CU as a wrestler, reaching the No. 1 ranking in the nation in the heavyweight division for two weeks during the 2009-10 academic year. He posted a 40-24 overall mark in two years and finished his sophomore season ranked 10th nationally.

Colin Lindsay, editor of The Great Blue North Draft Report, is familiar with Stewart's story, saying, "B.J. certainly make his presence known in Montgomery. I still consider him a sleeper for the 2013 draft, but the young man certainly looks the part. NFL scouts love former wrestlers. If he had played four years at even a Division II school, he might be up there on some mock draft lists right now.

Stewart, who graduated from Cumberland this past fall, is working out at a gym near his home in Rome, Georgia anticipating an invitation to yet another all-star game -- the Texas vs. The Nation Classic set Feb. 2 in Allen, TX.

Down in Montgomery, B.J. was starting ahead of a tight end from Clemson, said CU coach Dewayne Alexander. Weve had scouts from 24 of the 32 NFL teams either come by for a visit or watch him practice this past season.

Three scouts called me from Montgomery after watching him practice there. The Seahawks have shown the most interest and have been on him the longest, but Ive recently sent film to the Falcons and the Lions.

Were hoping to get him hooked up for some individual workouts at NFL training sites, which we hope could lead to an invitation to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

After starting two years at defensive end, Stewart led the 2012 Bulldogs with 21 receptions for 396 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 18.9 yards per catch.

He started all 11 contests and was voted First Team All-Mid-South Conference West Division.

In his two seasons on the defensive side of the ball, he compiled 70 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, seven pass breakups and one interception during his two seasons on defense.

Stewart also scored on a 51-yard fumble recovery and run in the 2011 season finale.

TOMMY BRYAN / tbryan@wilsonpost.com

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